Table of Contents
Lifestyle & Daily Routine for HealthandLongevity
Proper Eating Behavior for Good Digestion
Purify Your 7 Tissues for Better Health and Energy
The 3 Doshas and Your Health
Balance Your Subdoshas for Greater Healing Power
Maharishi Ayurveda Herbal Preparations
Practical Application of your Ayurvedic Program
Herbalized Oil Massage—Secret of Youthful Skin
Exercise According to Your Constitutional Type
Beauty and Skin Care
Disclaimer: The information in this booklet is intended for educational purposes only. It is NOT for the use in the diagnosis,
prevention or cure of any disease. The information in this booklet is given for educational purposes only and should not replace
the advice of your physician. Before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine please check with your own personal
physician. This booklet does not take the place of a medical consultation and all recommendations should be checked with your
health care provider to ensure suitability for you. The statements in this booklet regarding products have not been evaluated by
the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
If you have any serious, acute or chronic health concern, please consult a trained health professional who can fully assess your
needs and address them effectively.
Introduction from Nancy Lonsdorf M.D.
In this booklet I have drawn upon all my experience of the last 17 years, including more than ten
thousand patient visits, to structure a practical, effective introduction to the healing principles of
Maharishi Vedic MedicineSM. Getting healthy requires self-effort. This booklet is for those who
wish to take more control of their health in their day to day life. If you are ready to be proactive
for your health, then you are ready for Ayurveda. I believe this booklet will provide you with the
knowledge you are searching for to naturally and systematically fulfill your health goals.
There are two principles that guided me in organizing this Ayurvedic knowledge for you.
1. The knowledge must relate to your personal life at every step.
Each section is personalized for you through questionnaires that help you assess your state of
balance or health, and shows you how that aspect of Ayurvedic knowledge can deeply influence
your health and well-being. Once you understand your symptoms more deeply, and what lifestyle
factors are causing them, it is easier to make changes. I feel it is important to have personal
questionnaires at each step to inspire you to move away from the symptoms of imbalance and
toward the experience of health.
2. The knowledge must sequentially lead you through steps of regaining health that I would
use if you were a client in my office
Many books on Ayurveda overwhelm readers with too much information, provided in a sequence
that is not practical for implementation in daily life. My patients have educated me over the years
as to what recommendations have priority and how much a person can reasonably do in his or her
I wish I could meet all of you in person and develop a personal professional relationship with
you. That not being possible in most cases, I feel this booklet is the best attempt I can make to
share this health-giving knowledge with as many people as possible. I am glad you are a seeker
of health and wish you the greatest success in your endeavor to live the happiest, healthiest life
Wishing you the best of health!
Nancy Lonsdorf M.D.
Note: To receive Dr. Lonsdorf's FREE monthly newsletter and
announcements of her consultation and seminar tours to your area provide
your e-mail address by clicking here.
Health is won or lost in how we live day-to-day life. It is our patterns of eating, sleeping, work,
exercise and what we do to rejuvenate ourselves daily that determines whether we stay healthy or
fall sick and how gracefully we age.
Health is a choice. We are creating anew our physiology with every action we perform
throughout the day. We cannot live a life of health mistakes that create imbalance and then
expect our doctor to save us with a "magic bullet" from his drug armamentarium. Imbalances,
symptoms and diseases grow from seed form into gross pathology over many years. They are
caused by unhealthy choices made day after day. To remove the problem we just cannot avoid
having to address its true cause-lifestyle.
Even modern medicine is now recognizing that lifestyle and diet are the key to prevention of
disease and can actually reverse many disorders. Studies on osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease
and mental function are showing in many cases that diet and lifestyle outperform the top drug
therapies while creating many side-benefits instead of side-effects. I believe that as modern
science continues it's investigation over time it will increasingly find that fundamentals of
Ayurvedic daily routine discussed in this chapter are the true fundamentals for prevention of
disease and restoration of health.
While some of the terms may seem new to you at first as you continue with the booklet you will
quickly see how powerful the Ayurvedic description of physiology can be for helping you
determine what imbalance you have and what to do about it.
Following is our first questionnaire on Lifestyle and Daily Routine. I highly recommend you
spend three to five minutes and check yes/no answers to the questions. Each of the questions
addresses a behavior and lifestyle choice that has significant health ramifications. The "yes"
answers are the right answers from an Ayurvedic perspective so you can see the "no" answers
you have and quickly pinpoint the areas for focus and improvement. I suggest you mark your
answers in pencil so you can come back time and again, turn "no's" into "yes's" and document
your progress while reminding yourself of the areas you could still improve. Remember, every
aspect of daily routine that you improve will bring you greater energy and mental clarity, a more
positive mood and will help resolve any symptoms you may have. The discussion of daily routine
that follows is sequenced to match the items in the questionnaire for your easy reference.
Lifestyle and Daily Routine Questionnaire
Yes answers reflect healthy behaviors from the Ayurvedic perspective. Target the behaviors you
respond "no" to and keep changing you lifestyle to lessen the "no" answers.
The last columns contain information as to what the "no" behavior is aggravating. Vata, Pitta,
Kapha or Ama. A "Y" in the column means that principle is aggravated by a "no" answer. A * by
the letter means the unhealthy effect is very strong. If as you go through the booklet you find you
have the symptoms of imbalance in Vata, Pitta, Kapha or Ama you can return to this chart and by
looking in the appropriate column you can see which behaviors it is most important for you to
focus on to remove the imbalance.
Do you lie down in bed
to sleep before 10:00
Do you AVOID
activities that activate
the mind like watching
TV or reading in the 45
minutes before you start
Do you only use natural
fabric sleeping clothes
Do you go to bed at
about the same time
Is your bedroom only
used for sleeping i.e. do
you avoid working or
watching TV in the
Do you take an evening
walk after dinner?
Do you normally awake
before 6:00 AM?
Do you usually have a
bowel movement within
1 hour of awakening?
Do you drink any water
Do you clean the tongue
in the morning during
or after brushing your
Do you perform any
type of self-massage in
Do you perform yoga in
Do you perform
breathing techniques) in
Do you meditate in the
Do you exercise or take
a walk in the morning?
Do you wear natural
Is your breakfast lighter
and less quantity than
Do you AVOID meat
and eggs at breakfast?
Do you eat lunch
between 12:00 and 1:00
Do you normally eat
lunch at the same time
Do you usually have
warm, cooked food at
Do you usually take
one-half hour or longer
Is lunch your largest
and most balanced meal
of the day?
Do you have at least 1015 minutes after you
finish your actual eating
at lunch before you
have to start work?
Do you finish work by
Do you practice asanas
after work and before
Do you practice
pranayama after work
and before dinner?
Do you meditate after
work and before
Do you start the evening
meal before 6:30?
Do you eat the evening
meal at roughly the
same time each day?
Do you AVOID meat,
cheese and yogurt in the
Do you AVOID dessert
in the evening meal?
Is your evening meal
Do you walk for at least
10 minutes in the
evening after dinner?
Do you pay attention to
eat according to your
hunger level and not eat
if not hungry?
Do you eat to about 3/4
capacity and NOT feel
stuffed after eating?
Do you eat at
approximately the same
times each day?
Do you usually avoid
taking food other than
fruit or drinks for three
hours after eating?
Do you eat a balanced
diet with wide variety
Do you eat in a settled
environment and avoid
reading, watching TV,
standing up or driving
Do you AVOID cold
drinks while eating?
Do you continue to sit
for at least 5 minutes
after eating before
Do you chew your food
Do you only drink milk
with grains or foods
having the sweet taste
and AVOID taking milk
with raw fruits,
vegetables, meat, fish,
sour food and eggs?
Do you avoid leftovers
that have been placed in
Do you avoid frozen
and processed food?
Do you mainly eat fresh
food that's freshly
Do you drink fresh fruit
and vegetable juices?
Do you avoid food that
has honey cooked in it?
Do you eat mainly
Do you AVOID using a
Do you AVOID
skipping meals and
going hungry for long
periods of time?
Do you AVOID
urges like bowel
Are you mainly
vegetarian? (avoid red
meat, fowl, fish and
If you are vegetarian do
you have plenty of dairy
products in your diet?
Do you avoid caffeine
beverages like coffee
and soft drinks?
Do you avoid the
regular use of laxatives?
Do you avoid candy and
Do you AVOID having
lunches of salad only?
Do you AVOID
Do you drink 3-4
glasses of room
temperature or warm
water throughout the
Do you usually AVOID
eating cold foods?
Do you mainly use olive
oil, as your cooking oil?
Do you AVOID
cooking oils at high
Do you AVOID
cooking with aluminum
Do you eat out at
restaurants less than
twice a week?
Do you take an early
Do you walk daily for at
least one-half hour?
Do you have three or
more periods a week
with an hour or more of
exercise more strenuous
STOP exercising before
you start to feel
exhausted and sweat
Orientation to the
Is the main entrance to
your house facing the
North or East direction.
Is the main entrance to
your office facing the
North or East direction.
Does the top of your
head face East or South
when you sleep?
(imagine an arrow
pointing from your toes
to the top of your head
to determine this
Do you face East or
North when you sit at
your desk for work?
Can you AVOID
working night shifts?
Can you AVOID
working all day in front
of a computer?
Can you AVOID
working in an
environment with toxic
Does the space you
work in have windows
that can be opened?
Are you able to be more
restful on the days of
your menstrual period?
Do you eat lighter foods
grains, fruits and
legumes and less meat,
cheese, sugar and cold
drinks) during the days
of menstrual flow?
Following is a chart that sequentially describes an ideal daily routine from morning through
evening. This chart is a reference to what an ideal routine of life would be. If your life if far from
the ideal, don't despair! Small changes in the right direction can make a world of difference.
Your responsibilities may not allow you to adopt many of these habits at this time, but even one
or two can be very helpful. Lifestyle changes take time but the most important thing is to take the
first step. Pick the areas that you feel are most do-able or most important to your health and
start there. A balanced routine and the increased vitality it imparts are an elixir of life. Feeling
better day-by will be your continual motivator as you move toward a healthier lifestyle.
Ideal Daily Routine Description
To Bed by 10:00 PM. The Day Starts the Evening Before!
Arise before 6 AM
Evacuate bowels and bladder
Clean teeth, scrape tongue
Abhyanga (Appendix 1)
Bath or shower
Sun salutations and/or asanas and pranayama
Wear clean, comfortable, natural fabric clothing
Light breakfast followed by morning work or study
Warm cooked lunch with all six tastes
Rest for 10 minutes after eating followed by a brief walk
Afternoon work or study
Sun salutations and/or asanas and Pranayama
Early, light evening meal
Rest for 10 minutes after eating followed by a brief walk
Pleasant, relaxing activity
To bed before 10 PM with natural fabric clothing and bedding
Proper diet and eating behavior
Take Maharishi Amrit Kalash Rasayanas AM & PM
Diet and exercise according to season
Maharishi Vedic MedicineSM consultation
Maharishi RejuvenationSM therapy
Doshas and times of day
10:00 -2:00 AM &PM
Heightened digestive strength at day
and metabolic cleansing at night
Largest meal around 12:30PM
Sleep by 10:00 PM for metabolic
cleansing of impurities
6:00 - 10:00 AM &PM
2:00 -6:00 AM &PM
Tendency for physical heaviness
and mental slowness
Tendency for mental alertness AM&PM
but possibly tiredness by afternoon
Morning: Be awake before
Kapha time, Exercise,
Evening: Meal, walk, pleasant
Sequence of Daily Routine
The day starts the night before
Every organism in nature has a rest cycle. During rest, the energy and attention of the organism is
freed from outer activity and can focus on internal balancing and healing. Making the most of
this healing time is the foundation of good health. If this regeneration period is disturbed,
imbalance and eventually sickness result.
According to Ayurveda, when you start your eight hours of sleep makes a difference. Sleep
research shows that those who work the night shift and sleep during the day are more prone to a
number of health disorders, including insomnia, digestive problems, heart attacks and breast
cancer. But even lesser diversion from the usual human sleep pattern can make a difference.
Have you ever noticed how you feel extra sluggish the day after a late night and sleeping in, even
though you got your usual number of hours of sleep? It also can work in your favor. An NIH
study once found that many depressed individuals can achieve a remission from their symptoms
simply by shifting their bedtime and getting up times forward, for example, going to bed by 8:30
PM and getting up by 3:30 or 4 AM.
Ayurveda states that the start of the activity affects the nature of the rest of the activity, according
to the expression "well begun is half done." Accordingly, Ayurveda predicts the greatest benefits
from sleep that starts in the time when the body is dominated by the qualities of Kapha dosha,
between 6 and10 PM. Kapha is the heavy, grounding, inert principle in nature. Going to sleep in
Kapha time supports easily falling asleep and having a deeper, more rejuvenating sleep
throughout the night.
Also, if we are in bed by 10:00 PM we will be sleeping during Pitta time (10:00 PM–2:00AM,)
when the body is in its active "Pitta mode" of metabolism, cleansing the blood and skin of toxins
and impurities. If awake, that metabolic activity provokes hunger and the proverbial "midnight
snack." Unfortunately, this habit interferes with the body's cleansing cycle and also tends to pack
Reading, watching TV, working on the computer and other wakeful activities after 10 PM also
put stress on the eyes and nervous system, using energy that would otherwise go for rejuvenation
and accelerating the aging process. For the most rejuvenating beauty sleep, get your 8 hours
starting before 10 PM. You'll not only feel more fresh and energetic, but you'll see the difference
in your face in the morning.
*Note: A full discussion of Vata, Pitta and Kapha will be provided in Chapter 3.
When we go to bed by 10:00 PM we have the greatest chance of awakening early and having the
necessary time to do the rest of our full daily routine. This is why the day starts the evening
before and proper bedtime is the foundation for the next day’s activity.
Other important ways to support good sleep are:
1) Do not engage in activities that activate the mind or body in the hour before going to bed. i.e.
watching TV, reading or vigorous exercise.
2) Use natural fabric like wool and cotton for your sleeping garments and bedding. These fabrics
breathe and create the proper environment for your physiology both during sleep and in activity.
3) Go to sleep about the same time each evening. Regularity of routine is important to balance
Vata and imbalanced Vata is the source of insomnia for most people
4) Only use your bedroom for sleeping. To promote the most conducive environment for rest, do
not watch TV, work or exercise in your bedroom
5) Take a walk in the evening after dinner. A walk in the settled atmosphere of Kapha time,
between 6-10 PM, allows the body and mind to deeply absorb the gentle, peaceful and relaxed
Kapha influence, promoting a deep and uninterrupted sleep.
Awake before 6 AM
It is recommended to awaken before 6 A.M. Since we do not want to strain or use alarm clocks to
do this, going to bed before 10 PM is usually necessary so that the body is fully rested and ready
to go by 6 AM.
The period before 6 AM is the time when all of nature is awakening and Vata dosha is most
enlivened in the environment. Vata controls the nervous system and our level of alertness.
Remember the principle of "well begun is half done?" If we start our day in Vata time our mind
will experience more of the qualities of balanced Vata throughout the day – increased energy,
clarity, intelligence and alertness.
On the other hand, if we sleep past 6 AM, we are sleeping into the Kapha time of day. For
example, sleeping until 7:30 involves 1 1/2 hours of sleep during Kapha time, imbibing the body
with the qualities of excess Kapha – dullness, heaviness and lethargy. Not exactly how we want
to feel at the start of the day and exactly why so many people don't feel they can function until
they've had their expresso! Sleep after 6 AM day after day, year after year and a Kapha imbalance
can build up, causing symptoms such as sinus congestion, fluid retention, weight gain,
headaches, joint aches and stiffness, and (perhaps worst of all) bags under the eyes!
It is beneficial to have elimination in the morning. To help evacuate the bowels and bladder and
create a cleansing influence in the physiology drink a glass of fresh, warm or room temperature
water upon awakening. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and a half teaspoon of raw honey to kick
start your digestion and metabolism for the day.
Cleansing the mouth and teeth
In addition to brushing the teeth it is recommended to cleanse the tongue. This can be done by
brushing the tongue with your toothbrush or ideally using a stainless steel or silver tongue scraper
to scrape any white film or coating off the tongue. A coating on the tongue in the morning is a
sign that your body is not fully eliminating toxins and impurities. Scraping the tongue not only
freshens the mouth and breath, but stimulates the digestion and metabolism of residual wastes in
the body, according to Ayurveda.
Ayurvedic herbalized oil massage: Abhyanga
Daily morning Ayurvedic oil massage is one of the most powerful rejuvenation regimens one can
add to their daily routine.
The motion and pressure of the massage create heat and friction and help to loosen up impurities,
improve circulation and enliven the body. The quality of the oil is also important as it is being
massaged into the entire surface area of the body and is being absorbed. The proper oils and
herbs create a cleansing and nourishing influence throughout the body and help keep the skin
youthful and supple.
Ayurvedic oil massage is especially good at removing Vata imbalance, the usual cause of
weakness, anxiety and fatigue. Most people report feeling much stronger, emotionally smooth
and balanced throughout the day as a result of their morning abhyanga.
*See appendix 1 for a full discussion of how to do abhyanga and what massage oil to use.
Asanas and/or sun salutations
After the bath or shower it is highly recommended to go through a three part sequence of
practicing yoga asanas, pranayama (yogic breathing technique) and meditation (I highly
recommend the Transcendental Meditation (TM®) technique). Although each of these practices
are valuable alone, when used in this sequence each step prepares you to gain even greater effects
from the following ones.
Asanas and sun salutations help remove stiffness and heaviness in the body and are an aid in
increasing circulation and flexibility. Improving flexibility removes surface fatigue and stress and
helps reconnect the physiology with its inner intelligence. Wherever there is stiffness or hardness
in the body it indicates that part of the body is losing contact with circulation and the nervous
system. When this happens the fertile ground for disease has been created in the affected tissues.
Maintaining a high level of flexibility in the body through asanas and sun salutations is a vital
pillar of good health.
Yoga asanas postures are also excellent for this but should be learned from qualified instructors
for proper technique and the correct sequence of postures. Maharishi Vedic Schools and
Maharishi Vedic Medical Centers can be found in many major cities and teach excellent courses
in Yoga asanas. Call 1-888-Learn-TM or connect to www.tm.org for the center nearest you.
Pranayama (Ayurvedic breathing exercises)
Pranayama is practiced after asanas or sun salutations. Pranayama further purifies and refines the
functioning of the body and also helps remove dullness and fatigue. The best source of
pranayama instruction is through Maharishi Vedic Schools and Maharishi Vedic Medical
Centers. Qualified instructors of the TM technique can also instruct you in the proper practice of
pranayama after TM instruction.
Asanas and pranayama sequentially remove surface fatigue and tension thereby preparing the
mind and body to gain the most from the meditation period.
Eyes closed meditation (ideally the TM technique)
I respect the fact that many individuals are already practicing some type of meditation daily,
enjoy their technique and benefiting from it. However, I do highly recommend the TM program
and encourage everyone to hear an introductory lecture on the TM technique so they gain the
information that would allow them to make the most informed choice for their personal
Maharishi Ayurveda describes the twice-daily practice of the TM technique as the single most
powerful healing recommendation available. The benefits of the TM technique have been
scientifically validated in over 600 published research studies in a variety of medical and
scientific journals including the American Journal of Cardiology, the American Heart
Association's Stroke, and the Journal of Behavioral Medicine. During the 20 minute TM practice
the body experiences a state of deep rest characterized by more orderly brain functioning and
increased mental awareness. Regular TM practice helps the body throw off deep stress and
fatigue, improves mental functioning and is an ideal preparation for the activity of the day. The
TM technique is also an authentic, Vedic technique for the development of higher states of
consciousness and the full health potential of the physiology.
For more information on the TM technique, please check out the TM web site at
http://www.tm.org/or call 1-888-Learn-TM to be connected to the center closest to you.
Exercise helps cleanse the body, improves circulation and increases mind-body coordination.
Exercise is recommended daily in the morning when the sun is rising and the air is cool and
fresh. We encourage people not to exercise to the point of exhaustion as the effect can be to
create stress and strain and thereby be more damaging than helpful.
*See appendix 2 for more detailed information on the Ayurvedic approach to exercise.
Natural fabric clothing
Maharishi Ayur-Veda recommends natural fabric clothing as the most suitable attire for the
health of the body. Natural fabrics breathe and do not disturb the subtle energy fields of the
physiology. Cotton, wool, silk and rayon are the preferred fabrics. It is strongly recommend that
people do not wear polyester clothes of any kind.
Digestion is not as strong at breakfast compared to lunch so food should be lighter and easier to
digest in the morning. Stewed apples, raisins that have been stewed or soaked overnight, ripe
sweet juicy fruits, hot milk, medjool dates and mixed grains cooked in water are examples of
items that are nourishing and appropriate for most people at breakfast. It is best to avoid meats,
eggs and cheese at breakfast.
Please follow the advice of your medical doctor regarding any changes in your diet.
Digestion is strongest during the middle of the day when we are most active and the heat element
in nature, the sun, is strongest. This enlivens the heat element within our bodies, Pitta, which is
responsible for digestion and metabolism. Therefore, the largest meal of the day should be lunch,
taken between 12:00 noon and 1:30 PM, when digestion is strongest.
Because lunch is the main meal of the day we should put the most attention and planning into it.
Ideally, lunch should be a warm, cooked meal with all six tastes. Warm or room temperature
liquids should be sipped with the meal to aid secretion of digestive juices and absorption of food.
Avoid cold drinks and ice water during meals as they greatly depress digestion.
Lunch should be eaten in a comfortable environment while sitting down. Since it is the most
important meal of the day we should try to have at least one-half hour for lunch. At the end of the
meal we should continue to sit for at least ten minutes to let the digestion get off to a good start.
Many people have made great strides in improving their digestion, and how they feel in the
afternoon, by adding this 10 minute rest period to the end of lunch.
This rest period is appropriate not just at lunch but anytime we eat. We should always try to sit
for at least 5-10 minutes before we get up from the table. After this rest period it is recommended
to walk at least 3-5 minutes before returning to our afternoon activities.
Asanas, pranayama and meditation
After the work of the day, but some time before the evening meal, it is again recommended to go
through the three-part sequence of asanas, pranayama, and meditation. In order to accomplish
this and start dinner before 6:30 it is ideal to be able to end work by 5:00 PM
By investing in this after-work rejuvenation period to remove accumulated stress, to develop
consciousness and to increase mind-body coordination, we have a much better chance to grow
healthier day by day instead of becoming more tired and imbalanced as time goes on.
During the evening digestion is not as strong. Additionally, soon we will be lying down to sleep
which will slow digestion and circulation even more. For this reason it is better to eat a smaller
quantity of food and less heavy, hard to digest foods at night. Most people should avoid heavy
meats, cheeses, desserts and yogurt in the evening.
One of the main reasons people develop a buildup of toxins and heaviness in the body is that they
eat large evening meals, which they cannot fully digest, and then lie dormant in sleep for many
hours. Avoiding large meals in the evening is one of the most important practices for
maintaining good health and normalizing weight.
If you are over 40 and overweight, light evening meals may be the single most crucial
recommendation for getting your weight under control!
Since digestion is stronger in the early evening it is better to have dinner between 5:30 and 7:00
rather than later. The later we eat the less we should eat. If we eat later we should have light, easy
to digest foods like soups and we should avoid heavy foods. Again sitting at the table for 5-10
minutes and then taking a walk (at least 100 steps, according to the ancient texts!) is
recommended after eating the evening meal.
Pleasant relaxing activity is ideal for the evening. Strenuous or exciting mental and/or physical
activity in the evening could make it more difficult to fall asleep. Since Kapha, the heavy, dull
element is strongest in nature between 6:00 and 10:00 PM an evening walk is recommended. Not
only does this aid digestion, it also allows the mind and body to absorb the deeply restful
qualities of Kapha that are enlivened outdoors. This will help promote a good night's sleep.
To sleep before 10 PM
To gain maximum rejuvenation from sleep it is recommended to go to bed before 10:00 PM.
Remember, the day starts the evening before with the quality and quantity of sleep we get.
Additional Daily Routine Recommendations
Drinking warm or room temperature water throughout the day
Most everyone can benefit from drinking water frequently throughout the day. This provides a
daily cleansing of the digestive tract. It also keeps the channels of circulation open and helps the
body eliminate impurities. The water should not be cold, rather room temperature or warmer. The
most cleansing water is hot water that was boiled for 10 minutes before placing in a thermos. Be
sure to take the extra time for this if you are trying to lose weight or have digestive problems.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash® Rasayana
Rasayanas are Ayurvedic herbal preparations that have general, overall balancing and nourishing
effects for people of all constitutions.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash (MAK) is the premier rasayana in Maharishi Ayurveda, and consists of
two formulas, "Ambrosia" and "Nectar." Scientific research has found the MAK formulas to be
exceptionally high in antioxidant, free radical scavenging activity, with 1000 times the effects of
vitamins C or E (Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, 1992, Vol 43, pp1175-1182.)
The MAK rasayanas are usually taken twice a day, morning and evening.
Maharishi Amrit Kalash is in my experience the single most powerful Ayurvedic herbal
preparation available today. It can be used by virtually all body types and constitutions. If
you wish to take an Ayurvedic herbal formula, I would recommend MAK as the foundation of
your herbal program. (Note: please be sure to check with your health care provider before starting
any herbal supplements.)
Maharishi Amrit Kalash is available through Maharishi Ayurveda Products International at
Ayurvedic Seasonal Routines
Diet and the Seasons
1. Pitta Season: Summer
Because the hot, warm weather of summer increases Pitta within the body, we should adjust our
diet to favor foods that pacify (decrease) Pitta. Eat more cool foods, cool drinks and foods with
sweet, bitter and astringent tastes. Include the fresh, sweet, fruits and vegetables that grow in this
season. Take fewer foods with pungent, sour and salty tastes. Eat less of the following foods:
yogurt, cheese, tomatoes, vinegar and hot spices. (Please note “cool” does not mean cold.)
2. Vata Season: Winter
The cold, dry weather of winter increases Vata and we should follow a more Vata pacifying diet
at this time. Favor warm food and drinks, heavier foods and more unctuous (oily) foods. Eat
more of the sweet, sour and salty tastes. Avoid dry and cold foods and cold drinks. Eat fewer
foods with pungent, bitter or astringent tastes.
3. Kapha Season: Spring
The cold, wet weather of spring increases Kapha, therefore we should follow a more Kapha
balancing diet. Favor a diet that is lighter and less unctuous (oily). Favor warm foods and drinks.
Eat more foods with the pungent, bitter and astringent tastes and fewer foods with the sweet, sour
and salty tastes.
Exercise and the Seasons
Since exercise is most appropriate at Kapha periods more exercise is recommended in spring.
In summer it is important not to become overheated. Therefore less exercise, and exercise taken
at cooler times of the day in early morning, is recommended. To keep Pitta in balance it is
important not to overexert in the hot sun.
Seasonal MAHARISHI REJUVENATION Therapy
After the body has been functioning for 4 months in the specific climatic conditions of any of the
seasons it builds up the toxins and impurities that come from functioning in that climate.
One of the main reasons people fall sick at the change of seasons is due to this accumulation of
impurities from the past season and the body having the extra challenge of adjusting to a new
Maharishi Vedic Medicine recommends cleansing the body of accumulated toxins and blockages
at the change of seasons through Maharishi Rejuvenation Therapy, the revival of the authentic
practice of the "Panchakarma" treatments of Ayurveda.
*See appendix 4 for a discussion of the panchakarma program at The Raj, the oldest and largest
in-residence panchakarma center in North America.
Proper Eating Behavior for Good Digestion
Without proper diet, medicine is of no use.
With proper diet, medicine is of no need.
— ancient Ayurvedic proverb
A. Fundamentals of Healthy Eating Behavior
How we digest and assimilate our food is just as important as what we eat. If digestion is
disturbed, even the best diet will not provide proper nutrition. The following points include a
variety of recommendations to aid in the most complete digestion of food.
Eat according to your hunger level. Avoid eating when not hungry and do not delay eating
Eat at approximately the same time every day.
Don't eat too quickly or too slowly.
Do not overeat. Eat to about 3/4 capacity. Do not leave the table very hungry or very full.
Allow 3 – 6 hours between meals. Do not eat before the previous meal is properly
Eat a balanced meal with all six tastes. (see chapter 3)
Eat sitting down and in a settled environment. Do not read, watch TV or drive while
Sip warm or room temperature liquids during the meal. This enlivens digestion and helps
the food be better dissolved and absorbed. Do not take ice cold liquids and foods with a
meal as they suppress digestion.
Sit comfortably for five to ten minutes after finishing the meal. This allows the digestive
process to get well underway. If you immediately jump up from the meal, digestion will
be disrupted and the food will be improperly processed.
Chew the food well. Digestion starts in the mouth.
Milk should be taken alone or with other sweet tastes. Milk should not be taken with
vegetables, meat, fish, sour foods, salt or eggs.
Eat fresh foods freshly prepared. Avoid leftovers.
Avoid artificial foods, colors and preservatives.
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices are recommended as part of your daily diet.
Honey should not be heated in any way such as by cooking, baking or by adding it to hot
beverages. Ayurvedic theory says that when heated honey is ingested it creates a toxic
effect in the body. It can be added to tea or hot milk once the beverage has cooled down
to body temperature.
Eat organic food whenever possible. Strictly avoid genetically engineered or genetically
Do not use a microwave as it can aggravate Vata in the food.
Ayurveda recommends a vegetarian diet as ideal but if you have been eating meat for
many years the transition should be made gradually with great attention placed on having
a balanced diet and enough milk products to get the proper amount of vitamin B12.
For the best health it is good to AVOID the following
a) avoid snacks containing refined sugar. Have sweet juicy fruits, dried fruits, hot milk
alone or with spices, dates, nuts and other wholesome foods instead.
b) avoid lunches of only raw salad. Raw vegetables are not a balanced diet at lunch, the
most important meal of the day. Raw vegetables are too Vata aggravating to be eaten as
the only item on the menu at lunch.
c) avoid carbonated beverages. They aggravate Vata being filled with air and destroy the
foundation of "ojas", the chemical that contributes most to the immunity and vigor of the
d) avoid cold foods. Cold food depresses digestion and clogs the physiology.
e) avoid caffeine. Caffeine is very aggravating to Vata and Pitta and can significantly
imbalance the physiology with overuse.
Major principles of Ayurvedic Diet and Food Preparation
Eat fresh food freshly prepared.
Eat a wide variety of wholesome foods
Cook foods more slowly on lower heat to take them through all the proper
transformations of cooking.
Basic Qualities of Foods
Avoid frozen, processed foods.
Use organic food. Avoid genetically engineered food.
Use ripe foods. Avoid unripe fruits.
Avoid leftovers. Don’t eat leftovers out of the refrigerator as they are hard to digest and
clogging to the physiology
C. Use of Spices in Food Preparation
There are two factors involved in proper nourishment. The first is to start with the proper food
(organic, whole foods freshly prepared) and the second is to help Agni (the digestion,
metabolism and tissue development processes) be maximally strong. Spices are the key to the
second factor- transforming food into healthy tissue. For this reason the heavier foods you eat the
more necessary it is to have proper spicing. Diets high in nutrition dense foods (fats, sweets,
meat, desserts) require spicing or they will quickly lead to excess heaviness and clogging of the
How to Buy, Store and Prepare Spices
Because may of the active ingredients in spices are aromatic it is important to buy whole seeds
rather than ground powders. When spices are ground in the factory they loose a lot of the
aromatic compounds and continue to loose more as time goes by. Storing the spices in tightly
closed glass containers helps the seeds maintain their potency. Seeds can be turned into powders
right at the cooking time by places combinations in a spice grinder.
Spices also need help from heat to bring out their best qualities. Spices should be sautéed in oil
or dry fried (placed in a frying pan that has no oil in it) before use. Normally you should add the
seeds first to sautéing and then add the powders. Don't turn your back on the sautéing process as
spices can burn easily.
Properties of Specific Spices
Salt is one of the 6 basic tastes and some salt is needed in the diet. Ayurveda has very specific
recommendations regarding the ideal way to incorporate salt into food. Salt should be cooked
into the watery portion of dishes. This is better than sprinkling it on at the table or sauteeing it
with spices. Instead add it to soups while they are cooking or on top of vegetables while they are
Our bodies need many minerals besides sodium and chloride so use natural rock and sea salts
whenever possible. Black salt has sulfur in it crating an unusual taste but it has a powerful
stimulating effect on digestion.
Pepper is part of the fascinating story of the relationship between spices, oils and brain
physiology. Pepper helps carry nutrition across the blood brain barrier. Since the brain is over
50% fat it is nourished most by high quality oils. Sauteeing fresh ground pepper into organic
extra virgin olive oil or ghee is recommended for rain nourishment.
Pepper is very stimulating to digestion and the cleansing aspects of metabolism. However,
pepper is quite heating and potentially Pitta aggravating in nature and must be used sparingly
with attention paid toward your personal experience with it.
C. Fresh, Green Herbs
Fresh green herbs, often though of as the Italian spices, have wonderful taste and excellent
physiological properties but most are quite heat sensitive and should be added toward end of the
cooking process. I recommend to always purchase the fresh green leaves from the produce
section of grocery stores rather than using the dry spices in bottles in the spice section.
1) Basil, has a purifying, holistic and uplifting influence (called "sattvic" in Vedic terms) on the
mind. It also has an influence on immunity and cleansing of the chest area. If a person has
chronic cough and cold the fresh leaves may be steeped in hot water and drunk as a tea
throughout the day.
2) Cilantro is the leaf of the plant that gives us coriander seed. It is very heat sensitive so
traditionally chopped cilantro is added to dahl soups when they are taken off the heat at the end
of the cooking process.
D. Sweet Spices
Sweet foods like desserts are high in nutritional content but are so carbohydrate dense that they
need help from spices to cut the heaviness and strengthen the bodies digestion and assimilation.
The "sweet" spices not only make our desserts taste wonderful but have an important
physiological effect as well.
1) Cardomon is mostly used with milk products (lassi, solid indian milk desserts like barfy and
hot milk) to reduce the mucous effect and help digestion.
2) Clove is especially effective at helping the Agni (fire of digestion and metabolism) get going
at the beginning of the day. I often recommend that people have some stewed fruit at breakfast
cooked with several cloves. The cloves enliven Agni over 3-5 hours and help digestion and
metabolism be strong by lunch, which should be the heaviest meal of the day.
3) Cinnamon is prized for its ability as a transporter of nutrition to the tissues. It helps the body
assimilate the building blocks of nutrition found in rich foods.
4) Saffron also helps build up the physiology. It strengthens all the tissues and has a particularly
powerful effect on reproductive tissue and has been used to enhance fertility When saffron is
added to a rice pudding with its milk, rice, raisins, cashews and sugar a powerful nourishing food
for people with thin and wasting conditions is created.
E. Indian Spices
The traditional "Indian" spices are best known for their ability to increase digestion and
metabolism. They are mostly pungent and have the ability to decrease Kapha (heaviness) and
1) Ginger is the most favored of all Ayurvedic appetizers. It has a powerful effect on digestion
but is not as heating as other pungent spices though you could still overdo it. Buy fresh ginger in
the produce section (not the powdered ginger in bottles), cut it up and sautee it in oil. It is the
most heat resistant of the spices we have mentioned so it can be added first to the sauteeing
2) Cumin is the other main Indian spice used to strengthen digestion. Dry fry cumin seeds or
sautee the seed or powder for best effect.
3) Hing or asofoetida is an excellent appetizer but needs to be used in small quantities due to its
powerful odor. Hing is often used as a substitute for onions and garlic in recipes. This is because
onions and garlic have a dulling effect on the mind and consciousness. Often people involved in
Ayurveda are also practicing meditation and consciousness development techniques and will
have better experiences if they leave onions and garlic out of their diet.
4) Coriander is the most cooling of all the spices that have a significant effect on enlievining
digestion and is a good spice for people high in Pitta.
5) Fennel has a good effect on preventing, indigestion and gas. It strengthens apana, the force
that controls the downward flow of food through the digestive tract and is also a good spice to
6) Fenugreek as a powerful effect on fat, sugar and carbohydrate metabolism and is often used
by people dealing with weight issues.
7) Turmeric is a very special spice as it is anti oxidant in its effect and helps cleanse all the
tissues. It is also astringent and has a drying effect on mucous membranes and can be used by
people suffering from colds and excess Kapha.
Properties and Cooking Recommendations for the Major Food
Grains are famous for being the staff of life. They are rich in carbohydrates, protein and even
high quality oils. To get the most from this food group be sure to have a wide variety of grains in
your diet. Don't just stick with rice and wheat but include highly nutritious grains like amaranth,
cous-cous, bulgar wheat, quinoa, millet and barley. Mixed grain dishes are especially nutritious
and are good at breakfast and lunch.
The risen, loaves of bread that are so popular in the West have a slightly clogging effect on the
physiology so if you have excess heaviness, slow digestion or elimination it is best to have less of
these breads. Instead favor the flat breads like chapatis. Of course the more refined and processed
the grains are the more likely they will also have this clogging effect, less roughage and also be
Grains are slightly drying in their effect and should be cooked with some oil. Barley has quite an
anti-kapha (heaviness and tissue buildup) effect in the body and is the best grain for individuals
interested in weight loss.
B. Oils and Spices
The most important of all food groups to get right in your diet are oils. Cardiovascular disease is
the number one disease in America and the incidence of overweight people in our society,
including children, is a major current topic for both the press and our legislators. A major
contributing factor in both overweight and cardiovascular disease is the improper digestion and
metabolism of oil in our diet.
Making the plot even more confusing is the fact that modern science is also increasingly
becoming aware of the good qualities of oil for our health, a fact Ayurveda has espoused for
thousands of years. The brain is over 50% fat and needs oils to be properly nourished. Studies are
ongoing as to the positive effects of alpha omega 3 oils in reducing the risks of alzheimers and
cardiovascular disease. This is a big change in the literature from 10 years ago when fat free diets
where being touted as an essential component for health. It seems oils can kill us and they can
make us more healthy. Which effect oils have depends on what oils we use and how we prepare
those oils in our cooking process.
Maharishi Ayurveda provides the theoretical knowledge of how to include oils in the diet and yet
not have them turn into excessive fat and cardiovascular degeneration. There are two things we
have to get right to have oils nourish us rather than hurt us. First we must start with the right oils.
Second we must cook the oils in a way that helps the body process these heavy and concentrated
According to Ayurveda the best oils to include in the diet are:
Ghee or "clarified butter" is made by bringing butter to a slow boil for 45-60 minutes and
scooping the precipitated milk solids off the top. In Ayurveda the nervous system tissue is called
"majja" and the food that nourishes majja best of all is ghee. However if you do have high
cholesterol or are overweight it is better to have olive oil be the main oil in your diet.
2) Olive oil
It is important to try to use extra virgin olive oil if possible. Extra virgin means there has only
been one pressing of the oil, virgin means there has been two pressings and if it doesn't say extra
virgin of virgin it could have been processed even more heavily.
3) Sesame oil
While nowhere near as essential as ghee and olive oil sesame oil has many beneficial effects. It is
very Vata pacifying so one recommendation is to have it be the oil used in the evening meal
where we want to settle the nervous system in preparation for sleep. However, sesame oil is quite
hot and potentially Pitta aggravating in its influence and should be used sparingly if you have an
unpleasant heating reaction to it.
Another major consideration in "what" oils we use is that it is very important to use organic oils.
Many pesticides are fat soluble and concentrate in the oils of the plants they are placed on. This
is especially an issue if you use corn or soybean oil (which we do not recommend anyway) as
these crops often have heavy pesticide use.
I also highly recommend using only organic oils because if the label does not say organic then the
seeds from which the plants come could have been genetically engineered. The current
custodians of Ayurveda, with their deep belief in the wisdom of nature and natural process, are
deeply concerned that genetically engineered foods could have many powerful, unhealthy side
effects if ingested in large quantities over years. In the natural world it is not allowed to mix the
genetic material of different species yet that is a common practice in genetically engineered
However, it is not enough to use only proper and pure oils in our diet. Oils also need to be
refined and transformed by the cooking process if they are to end up having a healthy effect in
our body. Ayurveda has two main recommendations here.
1) Cooks oils more slowly over lower heats.
Excessive heat can break the molecular bonds in oils turning them from slender molecules that
slip through tiny pores in our cells to large "tinker toy" like molecules that get stuck in pores and
clog the body. Heat also can bend and twist the backbone of oil molecules again increasing their
clogging properties. If your snowpeas explode when you drop them in your Wok then your oil is
definitely too hot.
This is especially an issue with olive oil which is very heat sensitive. Olive oil should be cooked
slowly over lower heats. This is also why it is so important to get one time pressed, extra virgin
olive oil, as each pressing increases the amount of heat the oil has been subjected to increasingly
disrupting its natural molecular geometry.
2) Sautee spices into oils.
It is our strength of Agni, the fire of digestion and metabolism, that determines whether even
good oils end up as fat or healthy tissues in our bodies. Sauteeing spices into the oil is the main
Ayurvedic technique to have Agni enhanced so the body properly processes the oil. Ayurveda is
clear that even good oils will be turned into fat and blockage in the body without proper
spices being cooked into the oils.
Ayurveda provides several recommendations to get the most taste and health benefit from our
1) Start with whole seeds instead of ground powders.
Most spices are aromatic in nature and much of their potency and taste is lost when they are
ground into powders causing their aromatic compounds to evaporate into the air. Buy organic
spice seeds, store them in tight glass containers and grind them in a spice grinder right before
2) Spices need to be heated to bring out their properties
Spices can be placed directly in a frying pan and dry fried. However, the most potent way to
enliven the spices through heat is to sautee them in oil. Sauteeing spices in oil not only helps the
Agni of the body properly digest and metabolize the oil but it also can help the oil be carried
across the blood brain barrier where it can nourish the brain tissue. Black pepper is especially
helpful in carrying nutrition across the blood brain barrier.
Vaidyas (Ayurvedic physicians) have talked about how alzheimers, parkinsons, dementia and
other neurological disorders seen in Westerners in old age are due to "dry brain". As we become
older, Vata increases in the body causing it to lose its lubrication and dry up inside. This can be
especially devastating to majja, nervous system tissue, which is mainly composed of oils.
Ayurveda holds that when majja loses its nourishment from oils the result can be neurological
problems in later life. The Vaidyas report there is much less incidence of neurological disorders
during old age in cultures where the traditional diet includes many spices sauteed in oils.
The classic way to include sauteed oils and spices in dishes are to:
1. sautee oils and spices then add them to your soups and dahls as they are cooking.
2. sautee oils and spices then add chopped up vegetables, tofu or other high protein source.
Oil friendly Spices
Following are some spices and the main properties they have in helping oils be nourishing and
not unhealthy in their effect.
1) Strengthen Agni of digestion and metabolism
fresh ginger root, cumin, black pepper, asofoetida, coriander, fenegreek
2) "Sweet" spices that are added to carbohydrate dense foods like desserts.
Excess sugars and carbohydrates are turned into fat deposits in the body. To prevent unhealthy fat
accumulation Ayurveda recommends fenegreek, cardomom (use especially with milk products),
clove, cinnamon and saffron be used with nutrition dense dishes.
3) Turmeric cleanses all the tissues
Turmeric has a powerful cleansing effect on all the tissues and is an important spice to include in
your diet. However it should not be sauteed with oil but rather added the watery portion of the
cooking process. Add turmeric to soups or vegetables during the middle of their cooking process.
In summary, oils can be a great friend or enemy of our health. Ayurvedic theory helps provide
the knowledge of how to extract the maximum health benefit from this essential food group.
Milk, like the oils have exceptionally positive health qualities and also can create many health
problems if used inappropriately. The main thing that has to be taken into consideration is that
milk products are very heavy, clogging and mucous creating in many forms. Following are the
three best forms of milk products
1. Boil milk, add spices like cardomon, ginger or turmeric and drink while still hot. Cold
milk is very hard to digest for almost everyone. Milk needs to be boiled and drunk while still
warm to help overcome its heavy and mucous forming properties. Adding spices that cut the
heaviness of milk like turmeric, ginger and cardomon help even more.
2. Freshly prepared yogurt made into a lassi and drunk at lunch. Yogurt becomes
increasingly heavy, clogging and acidic over time. Ayurveda recommends that ideally yogurt
should be consumed within 24 hours of it being made. It is also too heavy to be eaten at breakfast
or dinner when digestion is less strong. The last part of the recommendation is to dilute the
yougurt with 3 to 4 parts water, add spices and turn it into a lassi.
3. Panir is the most pure, easily digested and nutritious of the cheese family. It is easily made
by bringing a large pot of milk to a boil and adding enough fresh lemon juice and/or yogurt to
make the milk solids curdle. When you have large, white clumps of milk solids floating in a clear
yellow liquid your cooking is finishes. Pour the mixture into a sieve and take the milk solids and
press them slightly until the water is mostly out. Panir still needs to be cooked before eating and
is wonderful in soups and vegetable dishes. Just cut your panir into cubes and sautee it in oil and
spices, then add to your dish.
Avoid or Reduce: Yogurt, cold milk, hard yellow cheeses and ice cream are some of the most
clogging and hard to digest of all foods and should be avoided.
Vegetables are very important for their vitamins, minerals, roughage and freshness. I especially
recommend including plenty of leafy, green vegetables in your diet. Most people should have less
of the root vegetables (potatoes) as they are heavier and harder to digest. Root vegetables need
more spicing due to their heaviness. Salads are good as a minor part of our meals but I do not
recommend having whole meals of just raw salad especially at lunch. Raw, cold vegetables are
very Vata aggravating and do not provide the variety we should be having at the largest meal of
The best cooking methods for vegetables are:
1) Sautee spices in olive oil or ghee and then add cut vegetables and continue to sautee
2) Roast vegetables by stirring larger chunks of high water content vegetables (squash, zuccini,
fennel) with a mixture of oil, herbs and spices. Then place this pan in the oven and bake until
3) Grill vegetables by mixing vegetables with oil, spices and herbs and then placing on the grill
4) Steaming is a very pure way of preparing vegetables but the process drains significant amount
of vitamins, minerals and taste out of the vegetables before it is finished.
Fresh, juicy fruits like grapes, pears, melons, plums are an excellent addition to almost everyone's
diet. Be sure the fruits you eat are ripe as unripe fruit can be acidic in nature. Following are some
common fruits and specific characteristics important to take into account.
Banana: Slightly hard to digest and an acidic after effect in digestion.
Pears: Especially good for emotional stability, balancing anger and excessively hot emotions
Apples: Best when stewed with some clove and had at breakfast. Slightly hard to digest and Vata
aggravating when eaten raw.
Melons: Especially good in summer to cool down Pitta
Raisins: Best to soak them overnight before eating.
F. Legumes, Dahl and Tofu
Good legume soups are missing from most people's diets in the West but they are very essential
to a balanced diet. With grains legumes can form a complete protein and they are the main source
of the astringent taste. Because legumes can be hard to digest it is important to eat them with
proper spicing. Sautee spices like fresh ginger root, cumin, coriander, turmeric and ground black
pepper in ghee or olive oil and add them to the dahl toward the end of the cooking process.
Chopped fresh cilantro is taditionally added to dahls after they have finished cooking.
Mung dahl is the most balancing of all the dahls. It comes as whole mung dahl which is more
nutritious, harder to digest and takes about 45 minutes to cook. Split mung bean dahl is easy to
digest and takes about 2-25 minutes to cook. The best strategy is to have a wide variety of dahls
in your diet and you can even mix dahl flours with grain flours in your baking.
While the classical Ayurvedic texts do not address tofu it is a hard to digest food that needs good
spicing. I recommend having tofu no more than 2-3 times a week in the diet.
G. Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are packed with protein, carbohydrates, roughage and high quality oils. However,
they are often hard to digest and can be Pitta aggravating. It is especially good to soak cashews
and almonds before eating as Pitta aggravating qualities are absorbed by the water. It is especially
important for vegetarians to have these rich, nutritious foods as part of their diet.
F. The Cook and the Kitchen
One of the most major themes in Ayurvedic cooking is the powerful effect of the consciousness
of the cook on the food. If the cook is unhappy and emotionally disturbed some of that quality
gets in the food. Make your kitchen a bright and pleasing space. Try to avoid cooking if you are
emotionally distraught if you can. The kitchen is not a pace to have argumentative discussions
with your family and friends. The consciousness of the cook is also a major factor when you go
out to eat at a restaurant because you have no idea or control over the quality of the cook and
their workplace in a restaurant.
Avoid the use of aluminum or non stick cookware. Stainless steel is a good alternative as is
occasional cooking with iron cookware. Cooking over a flame is considered the best heat.
Microwaves are not at all recommended as they create high Vat quality in the food.
Food preparation is an art and a joy. Proper diet is also great medicine and the key to a long,
vibrant and healthy life. It is key to everyone's life be educated in the knowledge foods and their
Suggestions for Meals
Foods good at Breakfast. (need to be combined properly)
Stewed Fruit: apples with raisins or dried fruit, cinnamon stick and whole cloves (discard
the cinnamon stick and cloves after cooking)
Boiled grain cereal or flat bread
Hot, spiced milk
Avoid cold milk on cereal out of a box.
Fresh fruit juice
Foods good at Lunch
a) boiled grain b) 2-3 vegetables c) spiced dahl d) chapati (flat bread) e) lassi, f) panir, g) chutney
h) dessert (cooked fruit tarts, whipped cream) i) sip warm water or tea.
Foods good at Dinner
Vegetable or dahl soup, boiled grain, green vegetable with proper oil and spices.
Key Ayurvedic Recipes
The Preparation of Ghee
Ghee is clarified butter. According to Maharishi Ayur-Veda it is the best oil for all doshas,
because it improves the digestion without aggravating Pitta. Ghee can be used as cooking oil, as
a digestive aid, or as a flavoring in place of butter. Under doctors’ recommendation, it is also
taken in its melted form as a preparation for Maharishi Ayur-Veda Rejuvenation Treatments at
1. Place one or more pounds of unsalted butter in a deep stainless steel or Pyrex type glass pan
on medium or medium-low heat. Watch to make sure that the butter doesn’t scorch while
2. Within the next 30 to 40 minutes the water will boil away (approximately 20% of butter is
composed of water). Milk solids will appear on the surface of the liquid and also at the
bottom of the pan.
3. Be alert to remove the liquid from the heat as soon as milk solids turn golden brown on the
bottom of the pan; otherwise the ghee may burn. At this point, you may notice that the ghee
smells like popcorn and that tiny bubbles arise from the bottom of the pan.
4. Strain sediment from ghee while hot, by pouring it through a cotton cloth placed over a
stainless steel strainer or Pyrex type pan. At this point it is very hot, so you should always be
5. Ghee can be stored at room temperature for 3 to 4 months or longer if it is refrigerated. Later
if ghee becomes solid due to being cool, just heat it slightly and it will return to liquid.
6. Ghee is usually available at delicatessens, natural food stores, and Indian groceries in your
Purchase a small container of plain yogurt at the grocery to use as “starter.” Milk to use: whole
• Boil milk for 10 minutes with a few slices of fresh ginger. Cool to warm (40 degrees Celsius /
100 degrees Fahrenheit or just slightly warmer than body temperature).
• Pour milk into cups of yogurt maker.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of yogurt to each cup. DO NOT STIR!
Allow automatic process to continue until the next day.
Save a small amount of new yogurt to make the next day’s batch.
Yogurt and lassi are not considered the same thing in Maharishi Ayur-Veda. So if yogurt is
restricted, you may have lassi. Yogurt or lassi are best taken after lunch or late afternoon rather
Lassi is a yogurt drink, which is considered to be a healthful digestive aid. It is made by diluting
yogurt and adding some spices, to taste, for the desired effect.
Enjoy this drink at room temperature at the end of your luncheon or as an afternoon treat.
water (room temperature)
(fresh) cardamom powder
water (room temperature)
salt to taste*
chopped cilantro (the fresh form of coriander) or mint
(Digestive lassi is also considered helpful for gas problems)
*Black salt in lassi is very effective as a digestive aid. It has a sulfur smell and taste — not
everyone enjoys it. However it does provide the best aid to gas and digestive problems. Black salt
can be purchased at Indian grocery stores or ordered through The Raj Herbery.
Bring milk to a simmering boil in a large pan watched very closely. Add lemon and/or yogurt
until the milk congeals and there are clumps of milk solids floating in a clear yellow liquid.
Strain the panir from the liquid, let cool and dry. Press panir together and then cut into cubes and
sauté before adding to dishes.
The following recipe is good for Vata and Pitta dosha and makes 12 servings:
unbleached white flour
1/2 – 2/3 cup warm water
Combine flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Gradually add water until dough forms a firm ball.
Dust with flour. Cover and let set 30 minutes.
Cut dough into 12 pieces and form into balls. Roll out balls on a floured surface into 6" circles.
Place a chapati in a heated griddle. Cook about 1 minute on each side.
Put the chapati directly on a gas burner flame and cook until it puffs up.
Mung Dahl Soup
Mung dahl soup is easy to prepare and easy to digest. Serve it accompanied with a flatbread or
rice and vegetables. Grains and dahl make a complete protein. Always sort, wash and drain mung
Following are the ingredients for a soup that will serve 4 to 6 persons:
split mung dahl
peeled and minced fresh ginger root
ghee/or olive oil
coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
Sort, wash and drain the split mung beans.
2. Combine the mung beans, water, and spices in a large pot, except the cumin and mustard
seeds. Stirring occasionally, bring to a full boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderate.
Cook for one hour or until the dahl is soft and fully cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent
sticking and add water as needed to keep dahl to desired consistency.
3. Remove from heat, uncover, whip with a wire whisk until the dahl soup is creamy smooth.
4. Heat the ghee in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When it is hot, add the cumin and
mustard seeds then fry until the seeds turn brown. Put a small amount of dahl into the cooked
spices and mix, then pour into the larger pot. Cover for 1-2 minutes. Mix in turmeric. Serve
garnished with cilantro. For variety, vary spices and any vegetables added to the dahl.
This salad adds a delightful freshness to the meal and stimulates the digestive process.
Carrots Fresh lemon juice
Fresh ginger root
• Grate the carrots, beets, and fresh ginger root. Add the parsley and basil and toss together.
Garnish with a squeeze of lemon juice and a dash of black pepper and salt.
• Those with Vata imbalance or weak digestion should only have about 2 tablespoonfuls chewed
Thermos Flask Lunch
The thermos flask lunch is for people who have jobs that do not allow them to have access to
well cooked, balanced meals. The thermos flask lunch provides the foundation of a balanced
lunch — the most important meal of the day.
• 1/4 cup yellow split mung beans
• 1/4 cup bhasmati rice
• 1-1/2 cups fresh vegetables, cut into small pieces to fit into thermos
• 1 Tblsp ghee
• 2 cups water
• whole or ground spices to taste (salt, pepper, cumin, ginger, turmeric, etc.)
Briefly sauté the spices in the ghee (see notes below for more information about cooking spices).
Add the mung dahl, rice and chopped vegetables. Cover with the water, and simmer for five
minutes only. While still boiling hot, quickly pour the mixture into a one-liter or one-quart
thermos (you may need to spoon it in, but don’t let the mixture cool). Close the thermos quickly
and leave it closed for about four hours. The meal will cook and be ready to eat after four hours
in the thermos.
• You may need to experiment with amounts and cooking times to get the best results. The
exact amount of cooking time depends on the time lapse between cooking and eating and
how well your thermos retains heat. If the time between cooking and eating is 5 to 6 hours,
then only two minutes of cooking time may be required. If the time lapse is 2 to 3 hours, then
five to ten minutes cooking time may be required.
• Since mung dahl and rice swell up substantially, you will need a generous amount of water to
get the proper consistency.
• Heavier vegetables like carrots and beets need one to two more minutes of cooking with the
rice and dahl. Lighter vegetables like spinach and leafy greens can be added just before
pouring the whole mixture into the thermos.
• You can substitute beans and lentils for the mung beans. Heavier lentils and beans will need
considerably more time. They should be cooked first after frying the spices. Then rice and
vegetables should be added, in order.
Ama and the Dhatus
Ama refers to toxins, impurities and blockages that accumulate in the physiology. The
localization of ama in the tissues disrupts and confuses the delicate biochemistry of the body,
resulting in a wide variety of symptoms. When ama blocks the channels of circulation, like blood
and lymph vessels, the body's ability to maintain homeostasis and balance in that area is lost and
the fertile ground for disease is laid.
If your personal experience is that you have any type of "chronic" disorder or symptoms
that have not gone away even with modern medical or "natural" treatment approaches
then ama is probably blocking the effect of your treatments.
In Maharishi Ayurveda, the first treatment priority is removing ama by
1) stopping the lifestyle mistakes that create ama (we addressed this in the first chapter of the
2) using natural Ayurvedic approaches to cleanse the body of ama where it may have
As ama accumulates in the body a wide variety of symptoms and disorders result. Localization of
ama results in stiffness, aches and pains, heaviness, tiredness and dullness. Another whole set of
symptoms and disorders gets created as the body tries to fight the aggravating effects of ama. For
example, the result of this struggle between the body and ama can result in the build up of excess
tissue in the form of fibroids, cysts, and a variety of tumors.
Another set of symptoms comes when the immune system perceives ama as foreign material and
fights it through inflammation in an attempt to remove the toxins. This can further result in a
mistaken or "auto-immune" response against the body's own tissues. Unfortunately this can result
in pain and/or swelling in that area. For example, conditions like arthritis, asthma and
inflammatory bowel disease are created and aggravated by the accumulation of ama.
Ama can come from environmental pollutants, mental and emotional disorders and a variety of
other sources. However, ama mainly comes from improperly digested foods. As a result of the
indigestion large, misshaped, molecules become absorbed into the bloodstream as they have not
been broken down properly in the digestive tract. Because the various channels and openings of
the body are structured for smaller molecules the large ama particles start to block the fine pores
and channels within cells and throughout the body. Many symptoms result from this process.
For example because the cell pores are blocked they can start to build up toxins inside or even
suffer from malnutrition as nutrients can't get in from the outside. As a result even though a
person may have eaten a large meal they soon get hunger signals from the body because certain
tissues truly are starving. The person eats more to satisfy this false hunger and starts to put on
more weight, creates more ama, and gets dragged into a downward spiral of increasing imbalance
on all levels.
Evaluating Your Ama Level
In A Woman's Best Medicine for Menopause I described the general symptoms of ama
accumulation and ama-free condition as follows. Consider these two lists as your general ama
questionnaires and determine whether you have mainly symptoms of ama-filled or ama-free
Symptoms of ama accumulation
1. You wake up tired even after a good nights sleep.
2. You feel lethargic
3. Your tongue is coated especially upon awaking in the morning
4. You don't feel real hunger even when you haven't eaten for hours
5. You have generalized aches and pains. They often are noticed the day after eating certain
heavy foods, like meat, cheeses, desserts and fried foods
6. You lack mental clarity and energy
7. You have a sense of heaviness in the abdomen, legs or body as a whole
8. You feel weary and unenthusiastic
9. You experience frequent indigestion like gas bloating and or heartburn
10. You feel blocked anywhere in the body, including constipation, sinus congestion and
Symptoms of an ama-free physiology
1. You feel fresh, rested and even blissful upon awakening in the morning
2. Your skin has a healthy glow
3. Your tongue is pink and clear
4. Your body feels light, regardless of your weight
5. Aches and pains are disappearing
6. You do not feel bloated or heavy in the abdomen
7. You feel energetic during the day
8. You feel enthusiastic
9. Your mind is clear
10. People say, "Have you lost weight?" or "What are you doing you look so good".
The Four Main Causes of Ama
Following is a list of several of the major factors that create ama.
1. Eating a large, heavy meal in the evening.
This is the single, largest and most common mistake that most people make. This behavior is
especially problematical after 40 as the metabolism and digestion become slower. If you are
overweight and over 40 it will be virtually impossible to reverse a weight problem without
cutting back large evening meals.
2.Eating leftovers that have been in the refrigerator
Food that has been cooked and then refrigerated is very high in ama creating qualities. Our diet
should be fresh food freshly prepared for good health.
3. Eating processed, refined foods made by man and not by nature
The more a food has been processed and fractions of it isolated by chemical processes the more it
is high in ama creating quality. In Ayurvedic terms processing destroys the inner intelligence and
prana (life force) of the food. Processed foods to avoid as much as possible include canned,
packaged and frozen foods.
4. Ingesting cold foods and drinks
Cold depresses the digestive fire and increases the likelihood that ama will be created from food.
Six Surefire Ama-Busting Approaches
1. Eat fresh food, freshly prepared.
2. Favor warm cooked food rather than large salads, sandwiches and other cold foods.
3. Eat the largest meal of the day at lunch when digestion is strongest.
4. Avoid consumption of large quantities of cheese and heavy meats.
5. Exercise daily.
6. Sip warm or hot water with meals and throughout the day.
Determining Where Your Ama Has Accumulated:
The Key to Eliminating Ama From Your Body
Ama usually does not accumulate equally throughout the body. It is crucial for removing ama to
determine specifically where it has gone. Ayurvedic treatment programs should be specific to the
tissues the ama has accumulated in. Therefore the next step in understanding and removing ama
is to learn about the Ayurvedic knowledge of tissues or "dhatus"
The Seven Tissues (Dhatus)
The dhatus are the 7 principles of biological intelligence responsible for forming the 7 major
tissues of the body. The dhatus are not the tissues themselves but the underlying organizing
principles responsible for forming those tissues.
The seven dhatus are:
1. Rasa: lymph & nutrient fluid
2. Rakta: corpuscular blood
3. Mamsa: muscle
4. Medha: fat and hormones
5. Asthi: bone & connective tissue
6. Majja: nerves and bone marrow
7. Sukra: reproductive tissue, ova and sperm
Ayurvedic theory describes the dhatus as forming in sequence from one to the other in this order.
This is an especially important fact when treating imbalance. For example there may be
osteoporosis, a clear disturbance of the asthi dhatu. However on close analysis there is also a
significant imbalance in meda (fat, carbohydrate and hormone metabolism) the dhatu that
precedes and turns into asthi. The Ayurvedic approach may require first putting attention on
balancing meda in order to eventually balance asthi.
Following is a questionnaire that will educate you more about the symptoms that occur when a
dhatu is imbalanced and will help determine what ama may have localized in you. Again I
recommend filling out the form in pencil so you can return and document your progress.
Analysis of Balance and
Ama Accumulation in Your Tissues
BLOOD PLASMA (RASA)-- The Clear Portion of the Blood
_____Excess mucus or respiratory congestion
_____Ovarian cysts (female) or hydrocoele (male)
_____Underweight or early wrinkling of the skin
RED BLOOD CELLS (RAKTA)- red blood cells and bile
_____Hot flashes or frequently feeling hot
_____Heavy menstrual bleeding or nose bleeds
_____Skin rashes or acne
MUSCLES (MAMSA)- muscle tissue
_____Muscle aches or pains
_____Easily fatigued muscles
_____Itchy ear canals or eczema of ear canal or excess ear wax
_____Fibroids of the uterus (female) or enlarged prostate (male)
_____Fibrous tumors of the breasts
_____Dry, cracking lips
FAT AND HORMONES (MEDA)- fat, hormone and carbohydrate metabolism
_____Diabetes or insulin resistance
_____High cholesterol or triglycerides
_____Malodorous sweat or body odor
_____Fatty cysts under the skin, scalp or in the breasts
_____Coronary artery disease
BONES (ASTHI)- bone, cartilage, hair and nail tissues
_____Low bone density (osteopenia or osteoporosis)
_____Hair breaking or split ends
_____Hair with dryness or lack of lustre
_____Joint pains or osteoarthritis
_____Deep pains in the bones
BONE MARROW (MAJJA)- the central nervous system tissue and immune system
_____Frequent or recurring infections
_____Excess secretions of the eyes
_____Dryness of the upper portion of the eyelids (not inflammation or blepharitis)
_____Immune system disorder
_____Pain in the tendons, easily injured tendons or tendonitis
_____Tendency for fainting, light-headedness or spaciness
REPRODUCTIVE ESSENCE (SUKRA)- The egg and its supportive tissues
_____Absence of libido or impotence (impaired erection or ejaculation)
_____Severe vaginal dryness
_____Lacking overall sexual attractiveness
_____Dull eyes, lack of clarity of the eyes
_____History of more than one miscarriage
If you scored 3 or higher in any one tissue category that tissue is being affected to a significant
degree by ama accumulation.
If you scored 1-2 in any tissue category ama is beginning to form in that tissue.
Ayurvedic Dhatu Balancing Recommendations
If your scores indicate ama is starting to accumulate in specific dhatus it is important to pay
attention to the many areas of lifestyle, diet and eating behavior that have been described in this
Factors that Disturb the Dhatu
Reduce these factors if you have this
Rasa is imbalanced by factors that
1)low water intake,
3) irregular meal times,
4) eating excessive quantities of dry
5) excess salt
6) eating before the previous meal is
Rasa is also disturbed by
8) staying up late at night
9) insufficient sleep
10) mental stress, worry and fear
1) acidic foods like tomatoes, vinegar,
2) alkaline (leavened with baking soda)
3) toxins like alcohol, nicotine, drugs,
4) frequent anger and frustration
5) hot, spicy foods
6) artificial colors, preservatives,
7) aged cheeses
8) violent movies or news shows
9) late bedtimes
Mamsa is disturbed by factors that
create dense, sticky ama.
1) old foods and leftovers
2) cheese, cold deli foods, ice cream
3) leftover or impure meats
5) deep fried foods
6) cold drinks
7) eating meat or cheese late in the day
Lifestyle and dietary factors
to favor that balance the dhatu.
1) drink plenty of water
2) eat sweet, juicy, fresh fruits (pears,
grapes, plums, oranges, melons)
3) eat juicy vegetables (zucchinis,
4) get more sleep
5) manage stress, ideally through the TM
6) perform abhyanga (herbalized oil
1) more neutral taste diet, less spices
2) plenty of water intake
3) good quantities of fruits and
4) T M technique
5) bed before 10
6) reduce anger
7) don't skip meals, have regular meals
8) drink 1/4 cup of aloe vera juice daily
9) include rose petal jam or rosewater in
your diet (add to milk or lassi)
1) yoga, stretching
4) vegetarian diet
5) amla berry preparations (Indian
grocery stores or MAPI 1-800-all-veda)
6) eat 1-2 dates a day and buckwheat at
least once a weak
7) Strictly avoid red meat, pork and
Meda (fat &
Meda is disturbed by factors that
clog and slow metabolism
1) overeating fats, refined sugar foods,
& hormones) deep fried food and high calorie food
2) large evening meals
3) excess meat and cheese
4) impure cooking oils like nonorganic, refined vegetable oils
5) snacking late at night
Asthi is most easily disturbed by
factors that aggravate Vata
1) late nights
2) mental stress
3) irregular meals
5) toxins esp. mercury and lead
1) unnatural unwholesome foods (junk
food, processed food, fake cakes,
genetically engineered food, food not
ripened on the vine)
2) corticosteroids that decrease bone
marrow production (consult your
doctor before changing intake of any
3) mental stress
4) plenty of sunlight
5) foods rich in calcium, magnesium,
vitamin B6 and B12
Shukra is disturbed by excess sexual
activity, exhaustion and poor
1) excessive sexual activity
2) frequent childbirth
3) carbonated beverages, baking soda,
4) mental and emotional stress
5) unwholesome foods lacking in
6) inadequate food intake
7) inadequate sleep
1) increase exercise (consult your
physician if you have any known
2) increase fiber in the diet
3) eat organic foods
4) use organic, unrefined olive oil
5) eat bran, whole cooked grains,
especially barley and quinoa, cooked,
green, leafy vegetables, and legumes
(lentils, dahls, dried beans, and peas)
1) adequate dietary calcium and
2) calcium rich foods like sesame seeds,
tahini, broccoli, blanched almonds, kale,
3) 30 minute walk in the rising sun
without sunscreen if tolerated (sunscreen
blocks vitamin D production)
4) abhyanga daily
1) more rest
2) gentle but regular ecercise
3) daily abhyanga
4) TM technique
5) healthy, pure, wholesome foods
6) walnuts, pecans, blanced almonds
7) warm blended date/milk shakes
8) rice pudding with basmati rice,
raisins, chopped nuts, saffron and
organic raw sugar to taste
1) practice moderation in sexual activity
2) to bed before 10 PM
3) daily abhyanga
4) eat nurturing foods like date
milkshakes and rice pudding (#7&8 in
5) fresh asparagus 2-3 times a week
6) mangoes in season
7) one sweet juicy pear or apple each
Importance of the sequence of dhatu development
It is very important to also remember that the dhatus get built up one to the other in the sequence
rasa, rakta, mamsa, meda, asthi, majja, shukra. If a dhatu early in the sequence is disturbed the
others that follow will be weakened. For example often an asthi imbalance (osteoporosis) is
created by a meda (fat and hormone) imbalance. Balance the first dhatus in the sequence to
strengthen the later ones.
Following are two specific recommendations you can use to cleanse the dhatus
1. Ayurvedic Herbs: The Maharishi Amrit Kalash preparations with over 40 different herbs and
fruits have a very powerful influence on cleansing the dhatus and opening the channels
throughout the body.
2. Spice waters: Specific spices can help to "clear" specific dhatus of ama. Spice water is
prepared by placing proper quantities of the dhatu specific spices in boiled hot water in a thermos
and then drink that spice water throughout the day. The hot water penetrates through all the
tissues carrying the specific cleansing effect of the spices into the tissues most affected by them.
Spice waters are one of the simplest and most profound recommendations in all of
Ayurveda. I highly recommend you use them daily for a period of 2 months at a time. Then
take a month off, then retake the test and use your updated recipe for another two months.
Repeat this cycle until you are ama-free!
Following is a list of
which spices to use for cleansing specific dhatus.
helps absorption of nutrients
powder or leaves of tea cut size
Do NOT use Western/American hibiscus as it has very
Do NOT use Western/American hibiscus as it has very
Do not use if you have high blood pressure, fluid retention,
breast cancer, fibroids or heavy bleeding.
helps the kidneys cleanse the body
strengthen the downward flow of elimination and reduces
flatulence and bloating
since ajwan is quite heating reduce or skip if you are having
intense Pitta imbalance or hot flashes
the herb! not the puffy, white marshmallows from the
How to make your personal spice water recipe
Drink each day for 2 months.
Boil 2 quart(s) of water for 5 minutes. Pour into a thermos. Then add the following spices in
WHOLE seed form to make the basic recipe.
To individualize your water, take the dhatu test above. Then add the spices indicated in the dhatu
chart above for each dhatu you scored 3 or higher in. That completes your spice water
Use the WHOLE seed, tea-cut or chunk form of the herb whenever available (except any
turmeric, sandalwood or manjistha, which are powders). Rosebuds should be without stems or
leaves. Many ingredients will be available at your local herb shop or whole foods store. All are
also available through MAPI at 1-800-ALL-VEDA.
Then drink the water throughout the day. Allow the water to cool to lukewarm or room
temperature after pouring into glass, before drinking. Please simply drink the water and do not
eat the spices themselves. The water-soluble fraction of the spices will be helpful, but the other
parts may be aggravating for your system. You may drink other water during the day according to
thirst, but try to drink all the spiced water by 6PM. Drinking it later may keep you awake at night
due to its mild diuretic effect. This spiced water must be made fresh every day.
The Three Doshas -Vata, Pitta and Kapha
The Divisions of Biological Intelligence: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Ayurveda says there are two levels within us that must be coordinated and balanced in order for
us to be healthy. The first level we are all familiar with. It is the material level of cells, tissues
and organs. But Ayurveda describes how the material level is actually just an expression of
biological intelligence and that biological intelligence is a subset of the intelligence at the basis
of all natural phenomenon. According to Maharishi Ayurveda the intelligence level creates and
controls the material level. Modern medicine diagnoses and treats the material level of cells,
tissues and organs. Ayurveda diagnoses and treats the intelligence level. This is the difference
between the two systems.
The Divisions of Biological Intelligence: Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Biological intelligence in the human being has three subdivisions which control the various
activities of the physiology. These three divisions are Vata, Pitta and Kapha - the three doshas.
Although the knowledge of the doshas is very ancient it is actually more in line with the latest
understanding of the world that modern science gives us than even modern medicine. Modern
medicine is a very "classical physics" (the world is "particle" in nature) approach to the issues of
health care, evaluating them all from a molecular perspective. We see this in its biochemical
evaluation of virtually all aspects of health. The physiology is explained in biochemical terms
and when modern medicine tries to cure you it usually just gives you a molecule (most
prescription drugs are actually just one specific molecule). Such a molecular oriented approach
would naturally culminate in the exploration of the molecule that makes all the other molecules.
Thus the cutting edge of modern medicine is investigation into the function of DNA and the
human genome project.
However, modern physics abandoned the classical model over 60 years ago in favor of a
quantum mechanical view of nature. In the quantum mechanical view it is fields in vibration
that compose the structure of nature and explain its functioning in a way that classical physics
never could. Quantum physics tells us the ultimate information in nature is not molecule based
but quantum field based. An example of the power of fields to carry information is in modern
television and radio. The tremendously complex information we receive from both is encoded in
the vibratory activity of subtle fields. Maharishi Ayurveda is a very quantum mechanical view of
health as Vata, Pitta and Kapha are the most fundamental fields of natural law which control all
aspects of the physiology.
If we think of a spectrum of natural law going from matter, to molecules, to atoms, to quantum
fields, to the Unified Field, we see modern medicine located at the molecular level and Maharishi
Ayurveda located at the gap between the Unified Field and the various quantum fields. Vata,
Pitta and Kapha are the very first manifestations of the Unified Field and their properties and
function influence all the grosser, more expressed levels of natural law that ultimately arise from
Maharishi Vedic Medicine goes one step deeper than Maharishi Ayurveda and sees that the
fundamental vibratory activity inherent in the Unified Field itself is what gives rise to the
physiology. Maharishi Vedic Medicine actually performs a "human genome project", not on the
level of molecules, but on the level of the vibratory activity within the Unified Field. Vedic
Science calls these primordial vibrations the Veda and the discovery of Veda at the basis of
human physiology is the Vedic traditions most profound approach to health care.
The home page of Maharishi Ayurveda Products International contains a very full description of
Maharishi Ayurveda and its relation to Maharishi Vedic Medicine and The Discovery of Veda in
Basic Functions of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Vata governs bodily functions concerned with movement.
Vata is especially involved in the movement of electrical activity up and down the nerves and
therefore has a major function in the nervous system and brain. The flow of food through the
digestive tract and the circulation also are controlled by the function of Vata.
Pitta governs bodily functions concerned with heat, metabolism and energy production.
Pitta’s main activities are to control the chemical transformation processes associated with
digestion and metabolism.
Kapha governs bodily functions concerned with physical structure and fluid balance.
Kapha is mainly concerned with fluid balance and the buildup of the gross structure of the body
including fat, tissues and muscles.
These three types of processes can be seen at the basis of any system in nature. For example,
think of a car. It has moving wheels and parts that would be like the “Vata” function. It has an
internal combustion engine that creates chemical transformations to turn gasoline into heat and
energy to power the car. This is like the “Pitta” function. The car also has a chassis that provides
the overall structure for the vehicle. This is like the “Kapha” function.
Food is evaluated for its strength and balance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. For example, an apple is
high in Vata quality, hot pungent spices have strong Pitta activity and heavy desserts and sweets
are high in Kapha.
Behavior is analyzed for its influence on the Vata, Pitta and Kapha fields. For example, staying
up late at night increases and disturbs Vata. Eating a large meal late in the evening aggravates
Kapha. Exercising in the hot sun can aggravate Pitta.
This Vedic perspective of health is effective because it is rooted in the deepest quantum
mechanical reality of nature’s functioning. The classical level of molecules that modern medicine
deals with is very superficial compared to the quantum mechanical world from which Vedic
The Daily Cycles of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
The environment and physiology have many natural cycles and rhythms that should be taken into
account in our daily patterns of living. The basis of much of the Ayurvedic daily routine
described in Chapter 1 is the fact that Vata, Pitta and Kapha, and the functions they control,
become more enlivened at different times of the day. Following are the times when Vata, Pitta
and Kapha and their corresponding physiological functions are most active.
Time of Day
Dosha most Active
2:00 AM to 6:00 AM
6:00 AM to 10:AM
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
10:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Behavioral effects and
Note: avoid sleeping into
Digestion is strongest so
have lunch as your largest
Tendency to tiredness,
afternoon herbal tea,
to bed by 10:00 PM
For optimal health and healing, we need to align our behavior to gain maximum support from the
natural, rhythmic swings of Vata, Pitta and Kapha activity. Simply stated we want "support of
nature" for our most important physiological activities. Eat you largest meal at lunch when Pitta
makes digestion strongest. Go to bed in Kapha time when your sleep will come more easily and
deeply. Sleep through Pitta time so as not to disrupt your natural internal cleansing cycle and to
allow full rejuvenation of your mind and senses.
Disregarding the laws of nature leads to illness. Living in accord with natural law brings the full
support of the healing power of nature that underlies the growth and development of all living
things. This is one of life's basic lessons and a guiding principle of Ayurveda.
Qualities and Characteristic of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
If we learn the state of balance and imbalance of Vata, Pitta and Kapha within us, it will help us
in understanding why we have a disorder and what we can do to eliminate it. Following are lists
of the defining characteristics of Vata, Pita and Kapha. Read them with an eye as to which one
most describes what is going on within your physiology.
Qualities of Vata, Pitta and Kapha
Moving, quick, light, minute, rough, dry, leads Pitta and Kapha
hot, sharp, light, acidic, slightly oily
Heavy, oily, slow, cold, steady, solid, dull
Characteristics of Vata, Pitta or Kapha
Predominance in the Physiology- "Constitutional Body Type"
As you read the qualities of the three doshas listed below, think about which best describes you.
That dosha is your "predominant" dosha. Everyone has all three doshas lively within them, but 1
or 2 are usually more predominant than the others.
Lighter, thinner build
Performs activity quickly
Tendency toward dry skin especially in winter
Aversion to cold weather
Irregular hunger and digestion
Quick to grasp new information, also quick to forget
Tendency toward worry
Tendency toward constipation
Tendency toward light and interrupted sleep
Enthusiastic and vivacious by nature
Difficulty making decisions or often changes mind
Performs activity with medium speed
Aversion to hot weather
Prefers cold food and drinks
Sharp hunger and digestion
Can’t skip meals
Medium time to grasp new information
Great precision and organization
Tendency toward reddish hair and complexion, moles and freckles
Good public speakers
Tendency toward irritability and anger
Enterprising and sharp in character
Solid, heavier build
Gains weight easily
Greater strength and endurance
Oily, smooth skin
Slow digestion, mild hunger